NEW PORT RICHEY — The Teamsters Local 79 overwhelmingly voted to ratify their first contract with Pasco County.
Union members voted 248-63 to endorse the contract, which took 3½ years to negotiate.
“We didn’t get everything we wanted, but it all worked out,” said Edward Siedzik, a shop steward for the Utilities Department. “It looks like a fair contract for both sides.”
Teamsters lead negotiator John Sholtes said the employees are happy with the final result. Everything from break time to overtime pay to holidays to uniforms and the size and location of union bulletin boards was subject to bargaining. But if one overriding issue superseded everything, it was the concept of seniority.
The union represents about 1,100 county workers — more than half of the county’s total workforce — who voted in 2010 to join the Teamsters.
The contract now goes to the county commission for approval. “Once the BOCC approves it, the contract is implemented the next day,” Sholtes said.
Siedzik praised County Administrator Michele Baker, who helped settle labor disputes with the firefighters and now the Teamsters.
“It seemed like it was stalled for the longest time,” Siedzik said. “Since Michele came on, we noticed a big difference. She came to speak to us, and she really listened.”